Qigong may reduce stress in computer operators, according to a study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. According to the study, Qigong gong exercises reduce symptoms of stress by positively affecting the sympathetic nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system is a branch of the autonomic nervous system, and becomes more active during times of stress. Its actions during the stress response, such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, are often referred to as the fight-or-flight response.
In the study, ten women were included in the Qigong group. The control group also consisted of ten women. Both objective and subjective data were gathered. Objective measurements included heart rate, blood pressure, and finger temperature, as well as noradrenaline (norepinephrine) excretion in urine. Subjective information included daily records of psychological measures of strain and weekly measures of stress levels.
Noradrenaline is a stress hormone which, along with adrenaline (epinephrine), helps activate the fight-or-flight response. These two chemicals are commonly measured in stress experiments, and are both indicators of stress.
As the results of the study show, Qigong exercise reduced noradrenaline excretion in urine, and influenced the heart rate and temperature. This data indicates a reduction in activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Additionally, Qigong exercise reduced low-back symptoms.
According to the authors of the study, "Qigong exercise over even a short period may be able to significantly reduce symptoms of stress. Physiological levels of stress such as increased heart rate, noradrenaline urine excretion, and finger temperature were reduced when compared to the control group. In addition, a noticeable reduction in reporting stress-related physical symptoms and perceived levels of stress were noted in the experimental group."